As I repeatedly tell clients, brain injuries often go undiagnosed following car wrecks or other accidents because doctors don’t usually know you well enough to make a pre-injury and post-injury comparison of your intelligence, emotional well-being, and general personality. As a result, it’s often up to you or your family members to notice the symptoms of a brain injury and convey those to medical providers so you get the best care possible. But to do that, you need to know the symptoms of brain injuries. This series is designed to help you do that.
These are the final common symptoms on my list. They seem unrelated, but they’re all related to a change in the senses.
Balance & Dizziness Issues. Unfortunately, many of you may experience balance or dizziness issues following your brain injury. These are very common symptoms of brain injuries and sometimes they can be severe. Some with brain injuries can feel the immediate problems, but tests can help make the diagnoses. (With my son’s concussion, he appeared healed and ready to return to baseball until his medical provider ran balance tests on him, which revealed he was still experiencing significant problems despite seeming normal.) For persons with severe cases of balance and dizziness issues, the person can undergo vestibular therapy that can help fight these symptoms.
Smelling & Tasting. Oddly enough, many victims of brain injuries experience problems with their sense of smell and taste. These can run the gamut from completely losing the ability to smell or taste, to a decreased ability to do both, to always experiencing a foul or unpleasant taste or smell. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done in many of these cases.
Hearing. Some studies suggest that between 48 and 74% of all people who sustain head trauma will have some type of hearing loss. These losses could be caused by actual damage to the hearing system (ear canal, etc.) to neurologic problems that are a result of damage to the brain itself. The treatment options obviously change based on the type and severity of the injury sustained.
Vision. Recent studies at some VA hospitals have found that more than 74% of the patients with brain injuries had vision problems. There can be a number of different causes of vision problems. There can also be a number of different treatment options ranging from waiting, to patching one of your eyes, to vision therapy, to surgery.